Stanley is a bellboy at the Fountainbleau Hotel in Miami Beach. It is there that he performs his duties quietly and without a word to anyone. All that he displays are facial expressions and a comedic slapstick style. And anything that can go wrong – does go wrong when Stanley is involved. Then one day, Jerry Lewis, big star, arrives at the hotel and some of the staff notice the striking resemblance. Stanley continues to do what he was hired to do while star Lewis has more trouble with his entourage than the hotel accommodations. —IMDb
Jerry Lewis (born March 16, 1926) is an American comedian, actor, film producer, writer, film director and singer. He is best-known for his slapstick humor in stage, screen, television, radio, and recording and is also known for his charity fund-raising telethons and position as national chairman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Lewis has won several awards for lifetime achievements from The American Comedy Awards, The Golden Camera, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and The Venice Film Festival, and he has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2005, he received the Governors Award of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Board of Governors, which is the highest Emmy Award presented.
On February 22, 2009, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Lewis the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. As an innovative filmmaker, Lewis is credited with inventing the video assist system in cinematography (some doubt now exists about this, due to… read more
Jerry Lewis plays it mostly silent in this hilarious early sixties gag-o-rama. I love how beautifully graceful each joke is set up and how nonsensical the humor can get! The chaplin character showing up in the middle of this madness was probably one of the most inspired directing decisions I've ever seen. Also, the cinematography is well done. I always love a good looking comedy and this looks crispy as fuck!
Supposedly, Paramount gave Jerry Lewis four weeks to make this movie in order to fill their now empty summer release slot. The result was "The Bellboy" - a movie in black & white, presumably for cost reasons, that gleefully states within its first few minutes that the picture will have no story, no plot. The film lives up to this claim as it moves from one one gag to the next, the only pause being a typical fade-to-black. The movie oscillates between standard 'set 'em up and knock 'em down'-style jokes and moments of truly surreal and avant garde humor.
It took me a while to understand Lewis' humor that most of it is intended as offbeat and strange rather than laugh out loud which is an interesting contrast to recent comedies. That being said this is Lewis' strangest and most experimental film even announcing it's lack of plot in the opening. Interestingly enough sections of it even comment on Lewis as a celebrity almost like a precusor to 'The King of Comedy'.
Modernist art-cinema trope #2301: To live life comfortably in the modern world, one must believe in (or buy into) the charade of modern life
François Truffaut: A Winter Portrait, running Tuesdays through December 22 at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York, showcases